The month of March in South Africa devotes special focus on human rights with the 21 March as official Human Rights Day. A historic moment will be captured in time as we honour those who fought for the basic liberties as now enshrined in our Constitution.
The arts plays a pivotal role to conscientise society of the human rights abuse and violations of human dignity as everyday transgressions are played out in drama, captured in visual art and expressed in song and dance throughout various performances.
At Artscape we have scheduled an array of productions that would speak to this subject matter and are thus proud to present the following host of human rights focused productions
Artscape will honour the legacy of an iconic change-maker, the poet, Adam Small with the production “Die Poet, Wie’s Hy?” in celebration of those who have gone before us. This production will run from 15 – 19 March and seeks to give new life to his written works. This will be done under the leadership of Frieda van den Heever and Dean Balie with musical talent and accompaniment by Die Khoisan Gypsy Band. As a young intellectual, Prof Small strongly advocated the use of one’s voice. It was this medium which he used to denounce various human rights abuses under the Apartheid government. This he did using various public platforms such as newspaper columns, open letters, his poems, plays, essays, including public speaking. The production further explores who Small was as a person and an acitivist, given the fact that his works still helps us to recognise our origins, to recognise ourselves in others and to explore our future together. The production is being done in conjunction with Toyota Woordfees and NATi,
Equally as part of Human Rights Month events the Manfred Zylle Rural Outreach Exhibition will showcase includes a variety of artists in various genres from classical Western, to African indigenous, as well well-known personalities that reflect Artscape’s rural outreach programme that seeks to identify a historically disadvantaged community either within the urban boundaries of rural areas. The artwork is an engagement with individuals and their personal input and position in society something truly unique.
Specific focus on LGBTIA+ rights achievements will be celebrated too. On the 9th of March the 2022 Cape Town Pride Proms will strut in the Opera House for a spectacular night of music featuring local singers accompanied by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. As a first in Africa, this glamorous evening will feature songs and music that have been either written or performed by LGBTIA+ persons as recognition of the contribution of LGBTIA+ talent. Proceeds from the night will go to the Nkoli House Project – a community centre being set up for the LGBTIA+ persons in Cape Town with special emphasis on older people.
Preceding the above on the 4th – 5th March, the production “She’s a Fighter” will be performed with the aim being creating and raising awareness around substance abuse, violence against women and children and teenage pregnancy. The two-fold true story depicts the struggles women go through and the challenges they face against the grain of the notorious Cape Flats. This is a production by the First Community Resource Centre Arts and Culture based in Hanover Park.
Artscape Arena will host the world premiere of the drama “Contested Bodies” by Abrahamse and Meyer Productions from 16 March – 02 April. The flinging of human excrement by political activists, Chumani Maxwele, at the statue of British Imperialist, Cecil John Rhodes on 9 March 2015, became a watershed moment in how South Africans respond and relate to the trauma of our colonial past. In their “outrage for the stage” Abrahamse and Meyer does some faeces flinging of their own in an outrageous entertainment fashion that is likely to be the most controversial and contested play of the year. The production is strictly for adults only as it contains scenes with strong language, partial male nudity, violence, prejudice, and simulated sex.
As the month concludes patrons can dance in celebration with the Unmute Dance Company’s Timelapse / We Are Here dance production. This dance journeys through a time-lapse of conversations around birth, memories and what these moments lead up to in shaping new beginnings and will be performed from 31 March to 2 April. These dancers with disabilities together with able-bodied dancers will frame movements that depicts actions questioning what we do now and how it would profoundly affect what comes next. Through these actions and frames we witness a rebirth of time and conversations.
Jazzart Dance Theatre under the leadership of Sifiso Kweyama, Dane Hurst and Shaun Oelf will present Meraki, a production about doing something with soul, creativity, or love; to leave a piece and essence of yourself in your work.